SwRI annual meeting features technical presentations, tours

Presentation features legacy of SwRI founder Thomas Baker Slick Jr.

SAN ANTONIO – Southwest Research Institute hosted its 71st annual Meeting of Advisory Trustees and Board of Directors on Monday morning. 

SwRI officials presented current research on a wide range of topics and a presentation about the legacy of its founder, Thomas Baker Slick Jr. 

"It far surpassed my father's vision of what it could've been back then. That was so long ago," said Chuck Slick, Tom Slick Jr.'s son. "They have such a great leadership here, and they have taken advantage of the marketplaces that are available to them and helping the world through science and engineering, which was my father's vision."

Tom Slick Jr. founded SwRI in 1947.

During Monday's presentation, Randy McDonnell, manager of Drivetrain Research and Development, explained his team's research. 

"We don't have, currently, a list of tests that are used to evaluate the oils that go into electric machines, so what Southwest Research Institute has done is used internal funding of our own research to come up with that list of tests," McDonnell said. 

McDonnell's team is one of many coming up with projects that are out of this world. 

The public recently saw the first images of Ultima Thule, the farthest object in space to be visited by a spacecraft. SwRI is leading the science team on the NASA New Horizons mission.

Chief financial officer Beth Rafferty said the institute is diversified and has commercial and government clients. 

According to SwRI's 2018 annual report, its net assets at the end of the year were about $558 million compared to $520 million in 2017.

"Our revenues were up in 2018 by over 10 percent, and we are a fourth of our way through our fiscal year 2019, and revenue are up by 15 percent even with the government shutdown," Rafferty said. 

Rafferty said SwRI is able to find experts from different research areas, ranging from chemical engineering to intelligent systems. 

"Growth is not our primary focus. We have a mission of helping mankind through science and technology, and growth is sort of a natural thing that happens when everything comes together," Rafferty said. 

SwRI has more than 2,600 employees.

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